If you want to have a successful startup company, you have to be passionate about your product. For Soraye Lara, a junior at UTPB, her product means more.
“Each piece will represent a survivor and her journey to freedom,” says Lara.
Lara is the founder of Unlimited Jewelry, a local business that’s soon launching that will employ human trafficking survivors. The business will teach them how to make handcrafted jewelry, which will then be sold to customers.
“They have an opportunity to sign their name on the back of the tag saying handcrafted by, and then their name,” says Lara.
According to HumanTraffickingSearch.org, Texas is one of the worst states in the country for human trafficking, and it’s prevalent in Midland/Odessa. Unlimited Jewelry will provide an opportunity to get survivors back to normalcy through employment.
“I feel like my company is a movement, it’s a conversation starter,”says Lara. “Once we bring awareness to this subject, then we can become more of a community and look after each other.”
Unlimited Jewelry will offer a variety of necklaces from different women. It will employ dozens of local survivors once its launched within the next few months. Her company is partnering with Reflection Ministries to provide job opportunities.
Lara used her resources at UTPB to create her startup. The school’s Blackstone Launchpad program provides networking and mentorship opportunities for future entrepreneurs.
“Before January I had no idea how to do a pitch deck, says Lara. “I had no idea how to make a business plan, or an elevator pitch. Blackstone has really helped me with that.”
“If you have a startup and you’re looking to find others that are like you, it gives you a space for that,” says UTPB assistant professor of Management Dr. Ryan Peckham.
Starting a company is a lot of work. Lara has spent countless hours getting funding, planning and legalizing her business. She says if she can change women’s lives, the work is easily worth it.
“Once we have restored their dignity, they’re less likely to be extorted again,” says Lara.
She hopes to grow her business into multiple locations across Texas. Her website will soon be up and running, but you can find some of her products on Instagram by searching the name “UnlimitedJewelryTX.”
For more on Soraye Lara’s company Unlimited Jewelry, check out the video above, and check out her featured article on UTPB’s website.